Chennai: Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) has asked State owned Tamil Nadu Arasu Cable TV Corporation (TACTV) to pay a sum of Rs 5,000 for arbitrarily disconnecting Tamil news channel, Sathiyam TV.
The order was passed after Three Salem-based patrons S Singaravel, Mathiyalagan Gopal and R Rajesh, active subscribers of Sathiyam TV, approached TDSAT seeking the restoration of the channel and demanding documents and communication, explaining as to why the channel was discontinued in the first place.
According to their petitioners,While Arasu Cable normally kept them duly informed about discontinuation of any TV channel, they said that the government service-provider had been ‘absolutely secretive about the discontinuance of Sathiyam TV, ‘stonewalling’ their efforts to access the channel.
The signal of the channel was disconnected on 12th July without prior notice; The petitioners allege that this arbitrary discontinuation took place following a panel discussion on the channel which aired the previous day(11th July) titled ‘Sathiyam Sathiyame’, regarding the Madras High Court’s verdict on allegations of corruption against the Madurai Municipal Corporation.
Tribunal Chairperson Justice Shiva Kirti Singh and member AK Bhargava assured the petitioners that the channel had been restored, making it available again to consumers. A ‘reasonable cost’ of Rs 5,000 was imposed on Arasu Cable to be paid to the petitioners within two weeks.
“The counsel for petitioners submits that grievance of the petitioners has been redressed and the channel has been restored on its platform by respondent no. 2 and it is available to the consumers. He prays that the petition may be disposed of but with a reasonable cost. Since the petitioners have got the relief claimed, the petition is disposed of but with a cost of Rs. 5000/- payable by [Arasu Cable] to [the first petitioner] who is expected to apportion it with all the petitioners. The cost should be paid within two weeks,” the Tribunal said.
According to the Telecommunication (Broadcasting And Cable) Services Interconnection (Addressable Systems) Regulations, 2017, “No service provider shall disconnect the signals of television channels without giving at least three weeks’ notice in writing to other service provider, clearly specifying the reasons for the proposed disconnection.”